Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wisconsin demographics bad for future, but WisGOP not making them better

Wanted to alert you to a good report from the Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance titled "The Impending Storm", which discussed the demographic challenges that face Wisconsin now and in the future. Many members of the state's news media relayed this report in their papers, including a very good summary by Gannett's Eric Litke, including some great interactive charts you can use.
State demographers say the number of residents age 65 or older will more than double by 2040, rising from 14 percent of the state population to 24 percent.

In that time, the state’s population will increase 14 percent to about 6.5 million, but the working-age population (ages 20-64) will be essentially unchanged, dropping a quarter of a percent.

Job numbers have historically mirrored changes in the working-age population, so a stagnant pool of workers means Wisconsin is expected to see virtually no job growth through 2040, the report said.
And you'll see that some areas in Wisconsin are slated to be hit harder by this demographic change than others, especially up North.

More illumination on the issue can come from the Census Bureau's 2013 state-level population estimates, which include the changes from both the 2010 Census, and the changes in the last year. And while these figures show our demographic issues are among those that match many other Midwestern places, it also shows our neighbors to the West aren't as stagnant as we are.

Population change 2010-2013
Minnesota +116,456
Wisconsin +55,730

Population change 2012-2013
Minnesota +40,736
Wisconsin +18,159

Net migration within U.S. 2012-2013
Minnesota -1,147
Wisconsin -8,158

And the Wisconsin county slated to have the largest increase in working-age population in the next 30 years? St. Croix County (+28.1%), right next door to the Twin Cities. It shows what's happening 1 year after Wisconsinites elected Scott Walker into office, and Minnesotans installed Dem Mark Dayton as governor, which meant that the 'Sotans didn't get the "business-friendly" Fitzwalkerstani austerity policies we did. It also meant that Minnesota was able to pass marriage equality, fully implement Obamacare, and maintained a woman's right to choose, while Wisconsin has passed numerous limitations on the last two provisions, and has kept its marriage ban in place.

Hmmm, you think these things might be linked? And why doesn't the Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance admit as much? Oh wait, Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now said this in 2010, and it probably explains some of it.
For too long, the tax debate in this state has been driven by research from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance under the guise of its 'independence,'" said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now. "WISTAX Watch shows the organizations' invaluable contribution and interconnectivity to the conservative message machine in Wisconsin that seeks tax loopholes and breaks for corporations and the wealthy and less public investment."

Located at WISTAXWatch.org, the new site includes comprehensive analysis and research about WISTAX, including:

•Historical information about the organization's anti-tax roots and its influence over the years.

•Biographical information about the present and past board of directors, their conservative and corporate affiliations and their near $1.4 million in political giving - over 92 percent to Republicans and conservatives.
Much like the Cook Political Report, the Taxpayers' Alliance may have good data, but their analysis and solutions for that data generally suck.

I'll have more on this report, its meaning, and the misdirection by the media and WIS-TAX at a later point, but enjoy this for now.

1 comment:

  1. The right wing spin on the growth of St. Croix County is that it's people who are trying to get away from Mark Dayton's tax increases and other liberal policies. This theory has been advanced both by Wisconsin Republicans and Minnesota Republicans alike.

    Of course, when you think about it, that doesn't make a great deal of sense, since if they're working in Minnesota, they'd still be paying the higher Minnesota income taxes, and then taking a credit for taxes paid to Minnesota on their Wisconsin return.

    Beyond that, the other policies such as marriage equality, and investment in schools help everyone, even the wealthy.

    But the whole "St. Croix County is growing because people are trying to get away from scary gay marriage and scary tax increases and scary minimum wage increases and scary Medicaid expansion" is going to be a huge talking point on the right if people ever wake up to the fact that Minnesota's economy and population is growing faster than Wisconsin, so it will be important for us to debunk that notion thoroughly and consistently.